Labor day weekend was busy and lots of fun for me in the garden. When I wasn't working on the great wild natives seed propagation project, I got into the chaparral slope to the immediate south of our house and did a bit more clearing of fuel - the dead bits on the manzanitas, and some weedy growth, and some old chamise. I sawed the chamise down to the stump (from which it will sprout and I hope I can keep a little of it as it is a wonderful green color). As you can see, the manzanita is also a stump-sprouter, and if I have to remove some of the old straggly growth, I can at least be assured of lovely bushy shrubs growing to take their place.
I did also encounter poison oak amidst the trunks of the manzanita and I dabbed it with roundup. I stayed around the area till it was all dried up. I don't want my lizard friends to suffer the fate of Sal Salamander (an earlier post from Town Mouse). I don't like doing this but to eradicate the poison oak without poisoin involves ripping the viny roots up and they are extensive. This way I hope the roots will be poisoned and die without disturbing the rest of the soil. It's a compromise, and I don't feel altogether good about it, I admit.
BTW these are rather large pictures - if you click I think you may enjoy the details a little more.
Interestingly I found that my trusty Japanese pruning saw works way better than the nifty tool my partner kindly gave me, which is a battery powered saws-all type of saw with pruning blade attachment. Plus it gives me a reasonably good upper body workout - hey! benefits of gardening.
Because the native manzanita (Arctostapylos tomentosa crustacea) was growing in a tangle with mostly chamise (Adenostoma fasciculatum), the trunks have grown in sprawling twisted shapes, which, minus their surrounding supports, look weird and wonderful.
I don't know if the native habitat is going to thrive in its thinned out state. I had to remove a lot of fuel load for fire safety. I also should probably remove all the manzanita or most of it, but for now I'm leaving it all. I am slowly developing small paths wending through the chaparral - just by walking the same way each time I go through that area. So later on if I have to remove any, I'll know how to pick and choose, based on the evolving garden space that is emerging in the 100 foot zone around the house.
I didn't take "before" pictures recently but here is another section of the chaparral that we haven't gotten to that gives you a general idea.
The chamise flowers are dried up and brown. The manzanita stays green year round. That's the southish facing windows of the upper story of our house above.
Finally here's a picture that is a bad picture but I like it because it reminds me of the wonderful morning feel of the air when I was walking down in the chaparral.
OK, finally finally there is this other lovely one and if you were there you would have enjoyed the moon too, but in the picture it is just a speck!
Next post or next but one I'll continue with the seeds project. They are all sitting in the cold frame now and I'm eagerly awaiting the appearance of their little seed leaves.